Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

Gumbo Joe and His Smokey Tent

February 28th, 2017

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At work last week, we were talking about what sells tickets to plays and the boss commented on star power.  He said, ‘If So-And-So is in ‘Gumbo Joe and His Smokey Tent,’ then people are going to buy tickets to see it.”

 

So here, just in time for Fat Tuesday, is

 

GUMBO JOE AND HIS SMOKEY TENT by John Weagly

 

(Lights up.

The stage is filled with smoke.  In the haze, we hear the voices of ANNA and GUMBO JOE.)

 

ANNA

Hello?

 

GUMBO JOE

Hello?

 

ANNA

Gumbo Joe?

 

GUMBO JOE

Hello?  Who ‘dat?

 

ANNA

(Coughing.)  This is disgusting!  I can’t see a thing!

 

GUMBO JOE

This old tent, it catches the cookin’ smoke and holds it in.

 

ANNA

Don’t you people down here know that smoke is bad for you?

 

GUMBO JOE

What can I do for you, lady?

 

ANNA

I came to get some gumbo.  I wasn’t thrilled about coming all this way to deal with people that reside in shacks and tents, but I’m having a Fat Tuesday party and it wouldn’t be much of a Fat Tuesday party without gumbo.  Everybody claims you make the best on the bayou.

 

GUMBO JOE

That I do!  That I do!  Gumbo Joe knows quite a few secrets about good gumbo!

 

ANNA

Maybe we could step outside for a minute.  I’m not accustomed to…

 

GUMBO JOE

Why, lady?  Why you want to leave?

 

ANNA

(Coughing.)  This smoke… it’s so grueling…

 

GUMBO JOE

It’s good, that’s what it is!  It’s good!  The best smoke for you that could be!  This here smoke is the dichotomy between Heaven and Hell!

 

ANNA

It’s difficult to breathe…

 

GUMBO JOE

Smoked sausage – the finest sausage for good gumbo!  The smoke, it gives the meat that savor-flavor, that kick, that zing!  It makes you think the Devil made that sausage in his own fire just so the smell of it would make the angels weep!

 

ANNA

But, when you’re in here, how do you… (She starts coughing and can’t finish her sentence.)

 

GUMBO JOE

Okra and tomatoes and nice bell peppers, some onion and garlic and cayenne spice, chicken and shrimp and… and the most important thing, you know it’s true… smokey-dokey sausage!

 

ANNA

I must get outside… (More coughing.)

 

GUMBO JOE

Smoke – that makes the good gumbo!

 

ANNA

(Coughing.)  I have to… I can’t… It’s so strenuous… (ANNA dies from smoke inhalation.)

 

GUMBO JOE

And what’s the best kind of meat for gumbo sausage?  You, lady, you!  Some of ‘dat good fancy long pork!  A little of ‘dat smoky Soylent Green.  And the smokin’ is already half the way there!

 

(In the smoke, we hear GUMBO JOE drag ANNA’s body to the back of the tent.  Soon after, we hear meat being put into a grinder.

Lights down.)

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